At a meeting of the linen discussion group in December, Phyllis Waggoner told about an article in a recent issue of Vav Magazine about a group of women who weave at a community building in Smaland, Sweden. The organizer of the group weaves and sells linen dishcloths and although she isn’t eager to share her draft, there is a loom at the community workshop where all participants may weave a dishcloth for themselves.
Phyllis bought a linen dishcloth in Sweden in 1997, which she analysed as an interlocking 4 shaft twill, with 2 additional shafts for the selvedges. She then wove a few as gifts using 40/2 linen. Phyllis’s enthusiasm for the dishcloths was renewed by the article, and she is testing a warp again on her loom at home, thinking that it might be a fun group project on a Weavers Guild loom.
That leads to my experiment. “Do you want to try one out?” Phyllis asked, as she handed me one of her remaining handwoven dishcloths. “Tell me whether it is even worth weaving?”
Here were my thoughts as I tried out the cloth. First, it looks lovelier, unused, on my pretty soapstone countertop than my other much-washed dishcloths from the drawer. I don’t know if I can actually get it wet.
I bit the bullet and started to use it. The natural color looked nice on my sink.
Every time I use it I think of Phyllis, and I completely love the fact that I know it is handwoven and given to me by a friend. But as a tool? A better tool than other dishcloths in rotation? It doesn’t seem any more or less absorbent or better at wiping counters. For me, I don’t think I would spend the time weaving a dishcloth.
Weaving a linen runner? That’s a whole different animal, and in my book, TOTALLY worth the time. Last week Phyllis wove a towel on a group warp on the computer-assisted Megado loom at the Weavers Guild. It was a cotton warp, and she wove it in linen. So pretty!
There are an amazing number of Weavers Guild members who are passionate about linen. Several informal linen discussion meetings have been held in the past months, and the first of four discussion meetings for the 2017 “Year of Linen” is this Sunday at the Weavers Guild at 1 pm.